In Conversation: Comma Sounds
Comma Sounds is a producer/DJ duo consisting of Harshiv Parekh and Soham Bhatt, both coming from Leicester they started creating online radio shows and performing DJ gigs throughout the Midlands and since 2020 have been carving their own path in the urban music scene releasing a plethora of original instrumentals and remixes and are now branching into collaborations with other artists and plan to release 6 singles with 6 different artists in 2021, Intelligent with J Flames being the first one. They are also library composers and produce music for licensing opportunities on movies, TV shows, video games and adverts.
Where did the idea of Comma Sounds originate from?
The idea for Comma Sounds came about very organically, me and Harshiv have always been working on music together whether that’s digging for new music, working on beats or just debating over our favourite artists. The exact place where we thought of the idea for Comma Sounds was in a restaurant whilst we were out for one our aunties’ birthday party.
We first started off Comma Sounds to build a radio/podcast show (kinda as a joke but seriously at the same time), mainly to showcase music that we discovered and believed in, by just digging through Soundcloud and the Internet.
As we were always working on our own beats and remixes we realised that it would be a good idea to put our own beats up so that we can reach more artists and producers, while also working on remixes and dj mixes. One of the artists we’re working with right now is Gilly Heller aka London’s Curious. He was our first featured artist on the show and now we are working on some dope music with him.
In terms of the present, where is the brand now and how have you progressed since starting this journey?
Well we started Comma Sounds doing online radio shows just to showcase other people and their talent and just show love to our favourite artists at the time, we had initially planned to keep it as a radio show and maybe go into events. We both then stopped for like 3 years because we were just living life and doing other things and honestly didn’t think it was possible for us to be successful music producers, but in 2020 we decided to get fully invested into the brand and we were dedicated to turn it into something great. Now, it’s turned into an artist project and brand, we are both working on music we are passionate about with inspiring individuals and it’s honestly a dream coming true in front of me. We’ve also secured a licensing deal and are now making music for sync licensing opportunities on movies, tv shows, games, adverts, etc.
What has been the highlight in your work so far?
Every time we upload music we're excited to see who our brand reaches. JFlames has been one of those artists and it has also been a pleasure to work with them from the beginning. The song Lou Kang that we’ve released with JFlames has for sure been one of the highlights so far.
There’s been a few highlights I can think of, but I would say the biggest one for me (apart from the Lou Kang drop) is the Wiley remix that we did, I remember when we made that beat, it was just an organic moment but really helped me see that we can do it if we put the effort in.
In terms of working as a duo, is there a specific structure in how you work together to achieve your vision, and how do you guys come up with ideas together?
The process for me and Harshiv working varies, I normally get a sample from Harshiv for an idea/melody he’s been working on, then I try and put together a loop with drums and maybe an 808/bass with some other percussions, vocal chops, a counter melody etc then send that back to Harshiv. He then goes through the loop and gives me some sort of feedback and we then discuss how we could work on the structure. To finish off the beat we really do like to get together in a studio to tie everything in so that it's ready to send to an artist or to the sync licensing company we're working with.
For me I really do enjoy the process of working on music from working with artists in the studio to working on mixes, digging for sounds to creating interesting vibes that work well with the beat and also when I get to hear the finished song back I get a real sense of an achievement and that’s what really keeps me wanting to get better at my production.
How has living in your Leicester shaped your music?
Music locally has shaped my sound a lot. Leicester is a very multicultural city, my whole music journey started from my dad pushing me to learn an Indian percussive instrument called Tabla at my local temple. Looking back now, learning that complex instrument gave me a real good foundation to understand rhythm and the different pockets that are available for me to use in my music.
Living in Leicester, I was exposed to all sorts of music growing up. I mean just walking through city centre near clock tower you had Hare Krishna people singing their lungs out, followers of Islam preaching and singing prayer, you had Christians singing their hymns and handing out leaflets and then in the middle of all of that would be a guy singing Bob Marley songs. So yeah it’s a blessing to come from such a multi-cultural place as I got to see that the one thing unifying the people performing and the people watching is...the music.
Is there anyone locally that you currently think deserves a bigger platform?
Some of my favourite artists that I listen to in Leicester and I’m inspired by are Jafro, Kamakaze, Mr Shay and Devso Music.
In Leicester yeah big up Kamakaze every time, but honestly I think Jafro is such a versatile artist and deserves a much bigger platform. I also lived in Birmingham for Uni so I’ll consider that local as well, the Brum music scene is actually unlike any other there’s so so many talented people and cool music but just to mention a few names of artists and bands I think deserve more eyes: The Nu, Mayday, Free Galaxy, Ethan Mugglestone and Rohaan Bleu.
With music as a whole, how important is it to you both?
Music is very important to me and my mental health. When I’m in a good mood I listen to music, when I’m in a bad mood I listen to music. Music expresses feelings I cannot explain with words and hearing sounds from other people’s point of view inspires me a lot.
Music is literally the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep. For me music is spiritual, I can’t think of anything else that has an effect on people like music does. It can make me want to cry, run a marathon and it can just completely flip my mood. It’s extremely important to me.
Press play on your favourite playlist and tell us the first song that comes up.
I really like this question, thank you. The song that played when I pressed play was Adam & Eve by Nas. I actually listen to this song a lot from the beat to the expressive bars from the GOAT Nas. One of my favourites.
Dmtri by Action Bronson and The Alchemist. This is the kind of music I love to blast in the mornings. No one can spit the bars Action does and this beat by Alchemist is just pure butter, super smooth and perfectly fits the vibe of the bars.
Within your career who has been a creative you have taken inspiration from the most within your work?
There are so many artists I could name firstly I want to say Rest in paradise MFDOOM. His music inspired a lot of artists and creatives from his wordplay, sample choices beats to what he stood for in the music industry; not conforming and standing out as an individual. His alter egos made his music so much more entertaining to listen to and the way he used his words to keep you off guard, you wouldn’t be able to predict what he was going to say next, a real icon. As for music production I will also mention Flying Lotus, the textures and sounds that he uses are next level, it keeps me wanting to experiment with different sounds and effects.
If I had to pick just one artist it would be Kanye West. For me, he is a musical genius. You can say what you want about him as a person but the way he makes music and his artistry is extraordinary. He taught me to never get stuck in a box with a sound and to take inspiration from EVERYWHERE. I mean, pretty much every album he has dropped changed the sound of popular music at that time and I dont think there’s many artists in history who could do that.
What is next for Comma Sounds and where would you like this venture to lead to?
We want to do a lot of things in the future from building with artists that we are working to finding new talent to grow with. Working on the sync licensing deal to dj sets and mixes. There’s a lot there to keep us busy.
Next is some more music with artists, I would really love to create a whole project front to back for an artist. More DJing and DJ gigs as soon as COVID is over, I love DJing and moving the crowd there's no feeling like it. Honestly, I want this venture to lead to a new wave of music coming out of the UK, music with soul and heart but also is hard and makes the room shake.
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